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Cardinals fall short in 3-1 loss to Mets in 18 innings

July 20, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) — For more than five hours, the Cardinals kept the New York Mets at bay. However, St. Louis also had an equally tough time scoring as well.

Then then the Mets scored twice against Carlos Martinez in the 18th inning — on a sacrifice fly and a bunt — to take a 3-1 victory that prevented the Cardinals from a three-game sweep.

“We just couldn’t push it across when we needed,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s a shame but they just kept coming.”

The Mets put a runner on base in every inning except the first and had runners in scoring position in all nine extra innings. But the only hit they managed with runners in scoring position came in the 13th when Kevin Plawecki singled off Carlos Villanueva to score Curtis Granderson for the game’s first run.

Kolten Wong tied the score when he led off the bottom of the 13th with a home run off Mets closer Jeurys Familia. Jhonny Peralta singled with one out and went to third on a two-out double by Yadier Molina before Familia struck out Tommy Pham to extend the game.

Five innings later, New York scored its go-ahead runs on a sacrifice fly by Ruben Tejada and a sacrifice bunt by Eric Campbell after loading the bases with no outs against Martinez, who was pitching only because the Cardinals ran out of relievers.

Martinez (10-4) had been scheduled to start Tuesday at the Chicago White Sox but the Cardinals ran out of relievers. Closer Trevor Rosenthal, who did not pitch in the All-Star Game because of a sore arm, was unavailable, Matheny said.

“We had to get every single pitch we could get out of Villanueva,” Matheny said of the veteran right-hander who threw 77 pitches in four innings. “We were trying to stay away from Martinez but it got to the point where it was not possible. We needed him to come in and pitch some tough innings.”

Matheny said he would have sent a position player to pitch if the game had gone another inning.

Eight Cardinals’ pitchers limited the Mets to 1-for-26 hitting with runners in scoring position as New York left 25 runners on base. It was the majors’ poorest showing with runners in scoring position since at least 1974.

The Mets’ total of stranded runners tied the third-most in major league history and they became the first team since Kansas City on June 6, 1991, to leave as many runners on and still win. Only Philadelphia (27) in 1973 and San Diego (26) in 1979 left more runners stranded in a game — and both teams lost.

“That’s not good,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We aren’t happy about that. Neither are some of the guys that left them on. I’ve never seen more flying helmets in my life.”

Mets starter Jon Niese worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Cardinals rookie Tim Cooney went 5 2/3 scoreless.

Cooney did not allow a Mets runner to reach third base until he loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth. Seth Maness relieved and struck out Plawecki to end that threat.

“Cooney did a great job, then everybody else jumped in line as well,” Matheny said. “It’s a shame he couldn’t come out on top.”

The teams combined for 29 hits, 18 walks and 30 strikeouts in a 5-hour, 55-minute contest.

This wasn’t the first time the teams endured a scoring drought against each other at Busch Stadium, and the Mets won the previoius one, too. The teams played 18 scoreless innings on April 17, 2010, before both scored in the 19th and the Mets won 2-1 in 20 innings.


Mets: OF Michael Cuddyer might have to go on the disabled list if his sore left knee doesn’t respond to treatment scheduled for Monday. He left the game in the bottom of the eighth after singling in the top of the inning.

Cardinals: OF Jason Heyward was not in the lineup after exiting Saturday night’s game because of leg cramps. Heyward also has been dealing with a head cold that Matheny said has been making the rounds through the clubhouse.


Mets: New York opens a three-game series at Washington in their second of three consecutive series against NL division leaders. Matt Harvey has not allowed a run in 13 innings while beating the Nationals twice this season.

Cardinals: After an off day, St. Louis opens a two-game series at Chicago against the White Sox on Tuesday. Michael Wacha, initially scheduled to pitch Wednesday, is expected to start in place for Martinez.

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